Saturday, December 20, 2008
New Department of Justice Crime Data Released: Rate of Sexual Violence Well Below Record Rates of Early- 1990's
December 17, 2008 – (Washington, DC) – The 2007 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), released today by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), shows continued evidence of the remarkable decline in sexual violence in the U.S. over the last 14 years. NCVS is the nation’s largest and most reliable measure of crime (including those crimes not reported to police).
According to the 2007 NCVS survey, there were an estimated 248,300 sexual assaults in 2007 against victims age 12 and older. That’s a decline of almost half (49%) over the last 14 years, down from 485,000 attacks in 1993.
The new survey shows that most rape victims still do not report their attack to police. Over the last three years, an average of 40% of victims reported their rape to police. However, that is a significant improvement over the average 30% of victims who reported during the mid-90s.
This continued increase in reporting — overall, it is up by a third since the mid-90s — is promising news because reporting to the police is the most effective tool that exists to prevent future rapes; every time we lock up a rapist, we're preventing him or her from committing another attack. But despite this decade-long increase, it is important to note that sexual assault remains one of the least-reported violent crimes, well below the rates for robbery or aggravated assault.
Approximately two-thirds of victims were attacked by a non-stranger (generally an acquaintance or family member); the remaining third were attacked by a stranger.
The Department of Justice’s NCVS 2007 data was collected from about 41,000 households and 73,000 individuals age 12 or older and includes both reported and unreported crimes. Due to budgetary restraints to the NCVS program, the 2007 sample size was reduced by 14% in July 2007. BJS estimates that this change had little effect on the outcome of the 2007 NCVS survey results.
Since most rapes are not reported to police, NCVS provides the most accurate data available to analyze trends in sexual violence. The main alternative crime measure, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, counts only rapes reported to police. Because NCVS is based on direct interviews with victims, it does not include crimes against children age 11 or younger. Thus, the actual number of sexual assault victims, including children, is somewhat higher than the NCVS total. Other Justice Department research has shown that about one out of every six victims is under age 12.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Follow the link below to check out the holiday edition of our e-news...
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Do you ever wake up and just feel incredibly lucky? Today I woke up, exhausted but with an overwhelming feeling of how lucky I am and the life I have been given and work so hard to nurture.
I hope each of you is having a wonderful Saturday morning.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
We recently had a student ask us for some male survivor and gay friendly support services, information and statistics. Below is a link to a page at Brown University . It has both good information and a variety of links for support and education.
K & B
Crime Fighter Awards (www.RAINN.com)
RAINN honors state and federal lawmakers whose efforts have helped reduce sexual violence or improved the lives of sexual assault victims. The Crime Fighter Award program recognizes congressional support of sexual assault issues, bipartisan efforts, and leadership in pursuing legislation.
In 2008, RAINN honored federal lawmakers who have been leaders in the national effort to end sexual violence, based on their sponsorship of legislation to bring the nation's sex offenders to justice, enhance services for victims, and reduce the incidence of rape.
“These federal legislators are RAINN's indispensable partners on Capitol Hill...Their leadership and hard work...have led to a significant reduction in sexual violence and the expansion of victims' services over the last decade.
— Scott Berkowitz”
RAINN president and founder Scott Berkowitz presented the 2008 awards in Washington, DC. "These federal legislators are RAINN's indispensable partners on Capitol Hill in working toward sexual assault prevention and prosecution," Berkowitz said. "Their leadership and hard work on crime victims' services, DNA issues, and countless other federal crime prevention measures have led to a significant reduction in sexual violence and the expansion of victims' services over the last decade."
For their extraordinary efforts leading to the enactment of laws that help victims of sexual assault and protect potential victims from predators, RAINN presented the 2008 Crime Fighter Award to:
U.S. Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA)
U.S. Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA)
U.S. Rep. Ros Lehtinen (R-FL)
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA)
U.S. Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)
U.S. Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT)
U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-CT)
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz (D-FL)
U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY)
U.S. Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE)
U.S. Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO)
U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN)
U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
*article is available online at RAINN.com
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
The Love/Avon Army of Women is a revolutionary initiative that will change the face of breast cancer research. Our revolutionary initiative has two key goals:
-To recruit one million healthy women of every age and ethnicity, including breast cancer survivors and women at high-risk for the disease, to partner with breast cancer researchers and directly participate in the research that will eradicate breast cancer once and for all.
-To challenge the scientific community to expand its current focus to include breast cancer prevention research conducted on healthy women.
The Army of Women is dedicated to representing all women in research so that the research results will apply to all women. This means we need you to help us recruit women of all ages, ethnicities, sizes, and shapes. We need women who have had breast cancer and women who have not. We need African American women, Asian women, Caucasian women, and Latinas of every age and lifestyle to be involved.
You can do your part to help us spread the word about the Army of Women and reach our goal of one million women.
Friday, September 26, 2008
It all started innocently enough...while in NC after our fabulous evening at Johnson & Wales we were headed to Banner Elk to work with the good folks at Lees McRae. Now Banner Elk is a good two hours of driving much of which involved wrapping around a mountain. Now many of you may have heard about the gas shortage in Charlotte and surrounding areas. It is no joke. But no one knew any details and we heard all kinds of wack-a-doo rumors. So we were not too concerned. We thought surely there would be a gas station in route to our destination so off we went. Now our innate cockiness sometimes serves us well. Not so on this special evening. As miles wore on and terrain looked more and more au natural we began to worry. Kelly even put in a call to her better half to call the local gas stations of Banner Elk to inquire about their fuel supply. Kel's husband like a magic eight-ball had bad news to report, "outlook not so good". There was no gas for whence we came nor where we were going. This would be a good time to mention that it would have been highly unlikely that we would have made it back without running our of gas. We were even at peace with the $7.50 a gallon Avis was going to charge us for not refueling if and when we ever made back to Charlotte.
But things continued to look worse, we would exit and find no fuel and then carry on. We ended up on this country road and came upon a little store, we did not even think they were a gas station. But lo' and behold. Like the Beverly Hillbillies we found our black gold. It has been sometime since I was that freaked out about running out of gas or about filling up. So, happy that we never had to go with a Plan B. At this little stop we found had a long line of cars. One patron said with traffic like this the town was going to have to get a stop light. Folks travelling from all over expressed their joy to have found the gas and theirs fears and frustrations with the shortage. After all our impromptu in store bonding we were off to Lees McRae where we were NEVER so happy to safely arrive to a program.
It was a great night and we met some awesome folks from athletics and the counseling center. The Peer Educators kicked it with us for awhile before the program. We cannot thank them enough for hosting us and for the gas Gods for shining light on us as stumble around this great country of ours.
PS Banner Elk is a beautiful town with lots of fun outdoorsy vacation spots.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The folks at Midwestern State University made us feel right at home. After downing 4 delicious ice cold glasses of sweet tea at dinner (I am an addict) we headed to campus with our panhellenic posse. Greek life hosted our visit to campus and packed the auditorium with students some of which volunteered to be there while others were required or strongly encouraged with promises of extra credit. No matter the intent of their attendance, another couple hundred students have been given the tools and knowledge to help create a sexually empowered culture. I hold my sweet tea glass high and give a big cheers to that!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Please give my soul sista and yours a little love and support by tuning in and letting the producers know you love seeing a member of the sexually empowered posse on the show.
She will be offering great advice on supporting survivors of sexual violence as well as sharing her perspective on the Spokane case.
Thank you all for your continued support. Please spread the good word about tomorrow and let us know what you think after it airs.
Becca (and Kelly)
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Happy in Pensacola,
Friday, August 29, 2008
Last night we spoke to 500 plus athletes and about 100 new students at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. The audience was at least 70 percent men, maybe more. People often comment that it must be difficult talking with men about sexual assault and even last night, several of the coaches at St. Ambrose "warned" us about the guys and their less than attentive behavior for speakers. This had us feeling slightly nervous about the situation but, you know what we say? No way, we love talking with men, in fact, men have become some of our biggest allies! Our time spent at St. Ambrose reaffirmed this once more. So, a big "word up" to all the men out there who are proud allies! We should especially give a shout out to the men's basketball and football team at SAU. Several of them approached us after the program to respectfully say, thank you for coming and for making them feel like they can be part of the solution. This means so very much to us both because that's our sole purpose for doing this work, to educate all student to help them to be a part of the solution to end sexual violence. Amen, Hallelujah!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
The sisters of Delta Gamma really went all out and showed us some serious down home southern hospitality. Thank you for welcoming us into your home and serving up a delicious dinner with great conversation!
Q & A with the DG's before our orientation program at SMU. In case you're wondering, what's with all the black & white? They were ushers for the orientation program. What a fine job ladies, thank you!
Monday, August 25, 2008
I meet up with Becca in the great state of Texas tomorrow morning for a 4 day stretch of orientation programs. Orientation season has been terrifically splendid so far. We certainly are lucky gals!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
1,500 freshmen packed into one of the most gorgeous auditoriums, ready to learn how to be proud, confident and safe, and create a safe and violence free campus culture makes for lasting memories and many new Facebook friends! To say we had a blast at Christopher Newport University is an understatement. After hearing that BB King performed on the very stage we would be standing on just days before us, we were feeling pretty darn excited. Then as the students began to arrive and we could feel their insanely exciting and positive energy we knew it was going to be a rock'n show (minus song, instruments and dancing of course, well maybe just a little dancing).
The CNU incoming students embraced our message of sexual empowerment with open minds and open arms. AWESOME! We will forever refer to this wonderful experience at CNU as our BB King moment!
Thank you to our friend Kathleen, a.k.a. Mrs. Bass for the opportunity to work with the CNU community and for taking such good care of us.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
A few photos that did turn out...
The Orientation leaders may look confused, but they really know their stuff. With excellent leadership like this, the class of 2012 at Cabrini College is golden!
Leave it to us to take photos in the bathroom. With safety tips, information and resources posted in the bathroom stalls we just couldn't resist. What a superb idea!
Here we are doing our thing and loving every minute of it. Orientation season is a little crazy but we are honored to be a part of it, even for just one hour. We get to look at the amazing faces of the incoming students and feel the anxious and hopeful energy in the room. It's quite the view.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Brown Chicken- Brown Cow --courtesy of Tonya Hale.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Stay tuned for stories and pics from the sexual empowerment highway and if we happen to be near you, don't be shy, give us a shout out!
Hendrix College- Little Rock, AR
Cabrini College — Radnor, PA
Christopher Newport University — Newport News, VA
Longwood University- Farmville, VA
Southern Methodist University — Dallas, TX
Sweet Briar College — Sweet Briar, VA
Simpson College — Indianola, IA
St. Ambrose University — Davenport, IA
Bates College — Lewiston, ME
Lees McCrae- Banner Elk, NC
Here's to new beginnings,
K & B
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
What a fabulous start to my week! Yesterday I got to spend the day with some of the most amazing, dynamic, talented and super fresh leaders in all of Florida. I met 32 of Florida's finest at the College Leadership Florida 2008 Conference (CLF). All the rival schools were there and always ready to represent, but this group of students turned into quite the family after an action packed week of leadership and learning. They even got to balance the state budget (look out Crist).
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
FREE Teach-In: Improving College Sexual Assault Policies
Hosted By: Students Active for Ending Rape SAFER
When: Wednesday Aug 13, 2008 at 2:00 PM
Where: Students Active for Ending Rape, 25 Washington Street, Suite 411Brooklyn, NY
Description: Students Active for Ending Rape SAFER Improving College Sexual Assault Policies
What does your school do if someone is sexually assaulted on campus? Does it alert the community? What happens to the survivor? What if the perpetrator is another student? Does the school treat white survivors differently than survivors of color? What if the survivor is not a student?Most students don’t know the answers to these essential questions. The SAFER Teach-In will give you the information you need to begin improving your sexual assault policy. Participants learn to analyze a sexual assault policy with an experienced SAFER Trainer, and set goals for making improvements. The Teach-In is a first step toward creating an effective, meaningful response to sexual assault on your campus.
To register, call SAFER at 347-293-0953, or email email@example.com and provide your name, the school you attend, and how you can be reached.Open to all college and graduate students! Especially useful for college interns in NYC for the summer.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Me and Hillary Cruz (Ms. Teen USA)
Monday, July 21, 2008
Ready for the road trip of a lifetime? mtvU and Ford are looking for college students to take part in a competitive journey across the country in the new reality show, College 500: Driven by Ford.
Drive cross country and compete at different universities along the way in creative challenges. The winning team members get a cash prize of $5,000 each. Shooting/road trip will occur the first 2 weeks of September. To be considered for the opportunity go to College500.mtvu.com.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Something that one student said in particular really stuck with me, perhaps it's because I saw so much of myself in him. He said, "Kelly, I don't mean for this to sound strange but I really hope to change the world one day. I'm not sure what my mission is going to be, but when I discover my passion I want to share it with others in a way that will inspire them to change the world too." What this young man shared with me really touched my heart. I'm sure he had no idea that the brief conversation we had in the corner of a crowded auditorium would become an important part of my life. I will cherish that special moment forever. So simple, honest and pure. Moments like that help shape who we are as people and that moment sent a big rush to my soul that filled my spirit with a renewed sense of hope and was another gentle reminder of how blessed I am to be on this amazing journey. He said that he hopes to change the world one day and I have no doubt that he will do just that.
Even more hopeful than I was yesterday,
Friday, June 27, 2008
Below are some helpful basics of on-line safety courtesy of http://www.staysafeonline.org/
Before I sign off, I'm going to throw my most basic and important rule out there...If it's something you would not say, do or share with a stranger, then think twice before you post it anywhere on-line, even private pages, because once it's on-line it's out there forever! (I'm still not sure about where "out there" actually is...we will most definitely need a guest blogger for that topic.)
Safe and happy posting cyber homies,
P.S. Becca and I are both I-Safe Certified so if you have questions or want more details about how to stay safe on line you can hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org
BASIC ONLINE SAFETY TIPS
1. Guard your financial and other sensitive information. Never provide or post your Social Security number, address, phone number, bank account or credit card numbers, or other personal information that could be used by criminals.
2. Picture social networking sites as billboards in cyberspace. Police, college admissions personnel, employers, stalkers, con artists, nosy neighbors – anyone can see what you post. Don’t disclose anything about yourself, your friends, or family members that you wouldn’t want to be made public. And remember that once information appears on a Web site, it can never be completely erased. Even if it’s modified or deleted, older versions may exist on others’ computers. Some social networking sites allow users to restrict access to certain people. Understand how the site works and what privacy choices you may have.
3. Be cautious about meeting your new cyber friends in person. After all, it’s hard to judge people by photos or information they post about themselves. If you decide to meet someone in person, do so during the day in a public place, and ask for information that you can verify, such as the person’s place of employment.
4. Think twice before clicking on links or downloading attachments in emails. They may contain viruses or spyware that could damage your computer or steal your personal information – including your online passwords and account numbers. Some messages may “spoof,” or copy the email addresses of friends to fool you into thinking that they’re from them. Don’t click on links or download attachments in emails from strangers, and if you get an unexpected message from someone whose address you recognize, check with them directly before clicking on links or attachments.
5. Protect your computer. A spam filter can help reduce the number of unwanted emails you get. Anti-virus software, which scans incoming messages for troublesome files, and anti-spyware software, which looks for programs that have been installed on your computer and track your online activities without your knowledge, can protect you from online identity theft. Firewalls prevent hackers and unauthorized communications from entering your computer – which is especially important if you have a broadband connection because your computer is open to the Internet whenever it’s turned on. Look for programs that offer automatic updates and take advantage of free patches that manufacturers offer to fix newly discovered problems. Go to http://www.staysafeonline.org/ or http://www.onguardonline.gov/ to learn more about how to keep your computer secure.
6. Beware of con artists. Criminals scan social networking sites to find potential victims for all sorts of scams, from phony lotteries to bogus employment and business opportunities to investment fraud. In some cases they falsely befriend people and then ask for money for medical expenses or other emergencies, or to come to the United States from another country. Go to http://www.fraud.org/ to learn more about how to recognize different types of Internet fraud.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
For my birthday bash, Becca hosted a fabulous party for me which was a private cooking class. I got to work with the head chef to select the menu and everything! Does she know this birthday girl or what? We got our culinary learn on, enjoyed good wine, fresh food we prepared together and of course birthday cake ... now that's what I call a celebration! I can't wait to see what this next year will bring...
Awhile back I had an experience that I am not quite proud of but in recognizing my weakness I had a dash of personal growth and as such I want to share the experience with you. On a visit to NOLA (New Orleans) pre-Katrina we wandered into one of the great local coffee shops. There I found a bumper sticker. Now, I am not a bumper sticker person. Even political ones. But, this one really spoke to me-pictured above.
ERACISM. Under which reads, all colors with love and respect.
I was so into it that it has since resided on my back bumper. So when I was at a local drugstore, I was put off by this gentleman approaching my car door.
" Miss, miss can I ask you a question?"
Me- slightly freaked by the older gentleman walking over from his large pick up truck with a pony tail (not quite of the mullet variety but close).
'Yes. Can I help you."
My doors locked.
Walking closer to my car.
"I want to talk to you about your bumper sticker."
My immediate thought after assessing this gentleman was that this is a probable racist who wants to say something about my bumper sticker. I had some other thoughts too but the language is not appropriate for this forum.
"Yes." I said with a tone of irritation.
My presumed racist, says.... "I have never seen that bumper sticker before and wanted to know where I could get one."
Ok, who is the the racist now?
What followed was great conversation about New Orleans but the glimpse into my assumptive character was deeply disappointing to me. It is so easy for me, for many of us to be righteous on our own terms but how easily out in the world we draw the same conclusions we allege to fight against.
I was ashamed of myself. I have since been approached by others regarding the bumper sticker. It really draws a (no pun intended) diverse crowd of commentators. Young, older, old. White, Black and Hispanic. All positive. But each time all I can think of is the lesson the sticker has taught me. I can be better. We all can. It reminds me how much work still needs to be done. It further commits me to trying to make this a more loving world where we do not just make assumptions but can connect as human beings. The one thing we all have in common.
Learn more about the ERACE movement at http://www.eracismneworleans.org/
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
We recently got together with a group of friends at a hip new bowling alley for a little friendly competition. Sadly, we failed to rehearse a spectacular song and dance routine as a sort of Grease 2 tribute to entertain the local patrons. It was hard to get the buy in from the gang on that, but there’s always next time. Maybe a future gathering will include a night of Karaoke! Here’s hoping…
Forever your Pink Ladies,
K & B
P.S. Michele would probably like us to mention that she bowled the highest score overall and that includes beating out her husband and all the other men too! You go Rizzo!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Not only is Lex fun to kick it with, but he's an amazing professional speaker, author, entertainer, producer and artist! We wanted to give you a little taste of what Sir Lex is all about so we did a low cost, no production time video shoot of him (because that's how we roll) so that we could easily share it with you. So we invite you to check out his bio, the video and read the text synopsis and please feel free to cruise his web-site(s) too!
7 Steps Towards a Life to the Full
1 Move towards, not away from. Every time you find yourself not wanting something to happen, ask yourself, "what would I rather have?" Then move towards more of that.
2 Nutrition - feed on good thoughts. The most important words for you as an individual are your "I am..." statements. Make sure you are only saying positive things about yourself, your skills and your attitudes.
3 Reproduction - find someone new to share your best ideas, skills and attitudes with.
4 Excretion - clear your clutter (emotionally, psychologically, or physically)Get rid of "stinking thinking!"
5 Grow - start learning a new skill - like an instrument. Music has magic in it - it'll enrich your experience of life.
6 Respiration - share, share, share. Grow up and start working 'with' other people. Individualism is over-rated - find a soul-mate, a kindred-spirit, and work together on a mutually beneficial project.
7 Sensitivity - STOP! Press 'Pause' on the iPlayer of your life. Reflect and then think about the other key players in your life's drama. Ask yourself, "How could I be more sensitive to their needs? When could I next spend quality time with them? How could I make it easier for them to open up to me?"
More about Lex...
Lex McKee has been in the business of making training entertaining since 1982. Weaving entertainment and training together, he believes in the importance of ‘Entertrainment®’ – making learning enjoyable, engaging and enduring. Alongside trainer-training, Lex specializes in three key Leadership Development areas: learning, influencing, and creative thinking – the three fields most strongly associated with sustainable success in life. He is now working on the concepts of "Living Organisations®", using biological, ecological, psychological, and even theological models to propose a fresh paradigm for business vitality and longevity. (See http://www.livingorganisations.com/) Lex also runs a recording studio to support direct training with ‘accelerated’ audio-visual productions. The techniques pioneered in the studio utilize a unique approach to enhancing the listener’s state-of-mind through blending layers of music, natural soundscapes, brainwave entrainment, empowering language, and binaural recording. Leran more about Lex and his work on his web-site - http://www.learnfast.co.uk/page.asp?s=Solutions&p=tatprog08
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Never afraid to make fools of our self we thought it was appropriate to now share the love with you! Maybe this will inspire you to plan a little summer weekend road trip for you and your buds or at the very least tune into a re-run episode of the Golden Girls! Or take it one step further as we often do and play the game, "Which Golden Girl character are you?"
Wising you safe summer road trips filled with lasting memories and endless sing-a-longs,
DJ Magic Kelly
Monday, June 09, 2008
Wendy's is running its 2nd annual Father's Day promotion benefiting children in foster care. During Father's Day weekend, the fast food chain will donate .50 cents from the sale of every Frosty product sold at participating locations to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
A delicious Wendy's Frosty is a tasty anytime treat! So, please indulge in this simple and oh so yummy pleasure. Do IT for you and do it for the children!
Friday, June 06, 2008
Our new Do “IT” For You campaign is all about finding pleasure in our lives by embracing the simple things that make life sweet. Over the next year as we push ourselves to grow and challenge ourselves to stop long enough to enjoy this wonderful life we have been afforded we hope you will join us in this journey of appreciation. We’re going to start out small and fabulous.
May’s Do “IT” For You challenge is to EAT ICE CREAM once a week for the next 4 weeks! Really enjoy it. No guilt. You can do it, we know you can. So what’s your pleasure? A little soft-serve cream action, sugar-free love, yummy soy goodness or a slam’n cup of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey-- whatever your choice, enjoy, relax and smile. After all it is summer.
The act of caring for others comes easily to so many of us, the act of caring for ourselves not as much. Take time and Do “IT” For You. If we are not enjoying the simple pleasures then ask yourself, what are we working so hard for?
Thursday, June 05, 2008
N.C. hospitals bill rape victims
Advocates say the state should shoulder the cost of rape kits, which are needed to help put suspects behind bars
Mandy Locke, Staff Writer
Rape victims across the state are paying for their ill fortune in the most tangible of ways: a bill for the evidence kit needed to lock up the rapist.
The vast majority of the 3,000 or so emergency room patients examined for sexual assaults each year shoulder some of the cost of a rape kit test, according to state records and victim advocates. For some, it's as little as a $50 insurance co-payment. For those without insurance, it's hundreds of dollars left when a state program designed to help reaches its limit.
Advocates want the state to spare rape victims and fully pay the cost of the examinations, which collect biological evidence that an attacker may have left behind.
"Rape victims are being treated differently than any other victim of crime," said Monika Johnson-Hostler, executive director of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault. "The county doesn't charge me for fingerprinting if my house gets broken into."
No one tracks what becomes of the hospital bills for rape victims who are privately insured.
But an analysis of state records and interviews with hospital officials and administrators at several of the state's major insurers suggest that charging the patients is a widespread practice.
In the cases of more than 2,500 people who receive rape kits each year, hospitals bill the patients' health insurer. Insurance companies, in turn, require emergency room co-payments and deductible costs.
For those without insurance, hospitals send the bills to the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, which has a modest fund to help. Reimbursements are capped at $1,000; the average cost of the rape kit exam is $1,600.
Trauma, then a bill
A Chatham County woman who reported being raped on her 21st birthday in September never imagined she'd get a bill for enduring a four-hour exam at the emergency department at Central Carolina Hospital in Sanford. But six weeks after a specially trained nurse searched her body for a trace of the man she said raped her, a bill arrived.
For the nurse's trouble and time in the exam room, she owed $175, her share after her parents' private insurance paid some of the bill, she said.
For months, she ignored her bill. Late notices piled up. A few weeks ago, another bill arrived: $193 for the doctor's care that day.
"I couldn't believe they would send me a bill for this," said the Pittsboro woman. (The News & Observer does not generally identify people who report they've been sexually assaulted.)
"I didn't ask for this to happen," she said. "The whole point of me going was to get evidence for the case."
Leaders at the state Conference of District Attorneys were surprised to learn rape victims pay for their exams. They agreed women shouldn't have to pay for tests used to find evidence needed at trial, but they didn't know which agency should pay. Their budgets are already strained, and they hear similar complaints from law enforcement agencies, said Peg Dorer, executive director of the conference.
Payment of last resort
The state's Rape Victims Assistance Program was established in 1981 to help with these bills. The fund covers the cost of assembling about 3,000 rape kits each year.
The rest of the money, about $258,000, is used to help pay the hospital bills for uninsured rape victims. Each year since 2004, the program has helped between 411 and 469 women, a fraction of those given rape kit tests each year.
Janice Carmichael, executive director of the program, said she wishes she had enough money to pay everyone's claim. The program was designed as a payment means of last resort, she said.
Hospitals settle the balance -- which can top $1,000 -- with the victims. Sometimes, hospitals forgive the debt. Other times, they work out a payment plan.
'Where do you stop?'
"The bottom line is these services cost money," said Rebecca Andrews, WakeMed Hospital's vice president of finance. "We do sometimes forgive. It's case by case. But where do you stop? We treat gunshot wounds, stabbings, abused children. No one asked for that to happen."
In January, Central Carolina Hospital put the Chatham County woman they treated on a payment plan to settle her $175 bill. She feared the hospital would turn over her bill to a collector and her credit would be ruined. Each month, she shells out $44 of her unemployment check to make good on her debt. She hadn't begun to deal with the new $193 bill.
Each month, she is reminded of the invasive and embarrassing exam. After the attack, she had already felt her life unravel.
She said she lost her retail job after she left shifts, embarrassed, thinking customers could tell she'd been raped. She said she dropped out of a few of her classes at a local community college because she couldn't concentrate. She was scared to go anywhere alone. Police didn't charge the man she said raped her. She said he told police it was consensual sex. Investigators told her they didn't want to pursue a "he said/she said" case, she said.
She said this week she regretted going to the hospital for an exam.
"The rape was tough enough," she said. "I believed I was doing the right thing, not just for myself. Now, I've got these bills hanging over my head."
On Tuesday afternoon, after learning of her case, administrators at Central Carolina Hospital decided to forgive her bill.
"Our CEO was shocked," said Danyl Butler, the hospital's director of business development. "It simply slipped by us. We didn't know this was happening."
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Monday, June 02, 2008
In our society athletes and celebrities are revered for their talent, their agility and their beauty but is that fair? Should those who step into the limelight be held to a higher standard?
Below is an article written by a St. Petersburg Times writer in response to a previous article that ran in The Seattle Times regarding Tight End Jerramy Stevens. Please take a moment and read them and let us know what you think.
Although it is my natural instinct to think the Buccaneers are crazy (as well as wrong) to have resigned this player I know that when it comes to violent and selfish acts I am biased.
So I want your opinion. Where do our athletes belong? Should we care what they do off the field? Granted I am not super keen on anyone athlete or otherwise with repeated alcohol offenses. Not choosing to learn from such a history of selfish decisions is just unacceptable so the alleged history of sexual violence, is for me the icing on the tombstone.
But, when do we say enough is enough? Is it even our business? Or does a person's personal choices and character even factor in to the equation if it does not effect their job performance? Would a teacher or accountant be fired for similar behavior?
Please let us know what you think by posting here or drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We already knew tight end Jerramy Stevens had some skeletons in his past, but there are some very startling accusations made by an alleged victim and police in a riveting story published Monday in the Seattle Times.
As part of a series of stories detailing a long history of past offenses by numerous University of Washington players, the story says an alleged victim and police investigators accused Stevens of rape in 2000 while at UW. Stevens allegedly drugged the freshman student and then raped her, leaving her with memory loss.
A frustrating chain of events between the police, who wanted to charge Stevens, and the prosecutors' office, resulted in charges not being filed. The alleged victim and Stevens settled in civil court in 2004 for an undisclosed sum.
The gist of the story is that Stevens, and others associated with the UW program, have received numerous chances to make up for past mistakes. Stevens has been arrested three times for alcohol-related offenses, his most recent resulting in a conviction in Arizona in September. He was sentenced to 12 days in jail but the jail term was stayed pending Stevens' appeal. The first of those offenses occurred while he was still enrolled at Washington.
Stevens signed a one-year contract with the Bucs not long after his last DUI arrest for a relatively meager $600,000. He becomes a free agent next month, but there is no word on whether the Bucs plan to re-sign him.
The Bucs maintain that Stevens has been a model citizen for them since arriving in Tampa but make no apologies for his past offenses or allegations leveled against him. They offered no particular comment to this article because the allegations predate their relationship with Stevens.
(Times photo - Brian Cassella. Click to enlarge.)
Posted by Stephen Holder at 11:46:26 AM on January 29, 2008
Saturday, May 31, 2008
This past week Kelly and I were honored to participate in the World Conference for Psycho-Geometrics (click here to learn more) or as it is often called, Shape Psychology. About a year ago we became two of the 34 licensees in the entire world who have been approved to teach and facilitate sessions on this rock solid communications application. Some of you may have even seen Kel and I do our Communication 411 program which utilizes the system.
So needless to say we were not surprised that we would be meeting some pretty snazzy folks at the conference but we had no idea just how fab they would all be. These communication rock stars really gave us a wonderful vision for the future and armed us with some killer ways in which we can better share all this information with you.
We will get up some conference photos soon but best of all we captured some awesome video blogs for each of you so you can experience just a fraction of the international greatness we just experienced. So stay tuned as we introduce you to some of our new favorite people and if you can't wait for the videos then visit the web site... http://www.psychogeometrics.com/
Tell em' Kelly and Becca sent ya!
Peace and Love.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Although fall is without question my favorite season, there is nothing better than the tastes of summer. Since Memorial Day and in addition to paying tribute to our veterans I have been getting down with summer fare. Watermelon, baked beans, the smell of the BBQ chicken my husband has been having for dinner and my beloved corn dogs. Now as many of you know I have been a vegetarian for almost 18 years and even dabble in the vegan lifestyle but when Morningstar Farms rolled out their meat free corn dog my world was changed for the better. Around this time of year those babies make into my rotation and I gotta tell you...corn dogs rock my face off.
The relevance about this post you may ask? This month Kelly and I have made a commitment to focus on life's simple pleasures. Like watching my dogs run around the dog park, or watching Meet the Press with my partner on Sunday morning or even enjoying some fabu ice cream (another summer favorite) or simply taking in the pleasure of a corn dog. Some people stop to smell the roses others head to their microwave or county fair and get down. What is your simple pleasure?
Peace and Love
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Recently, I’ve been trying to put aside quality time to focus on “me” and search for a little more peace and serenity in my life, it’s going to be quite the journey I’m sure. My first few baby steps have been to go to yoga class once a week and to take a couple hours a week to read something I enjoy that’s not a cook book, editing a draft chapter of my book or work related reading. It’s been really great so far. I’m beginning to feel more organic and free spirited already. I also began subscribing to a yoga e-newsletter- “Practical Yoga for Everyday People.” Some of it’s a little too advanced with far too much complex breathing for me but for the most part it has some really excellent tips and lessons. Last week there was an article on creating a healthy and happy mind and I thought I’d share it in our blog. It’s a good practice for anyone looking to create a healthier and more positive self but I thought it might be especially helpful for survivors throughout their healing process. Check it out, try it out and let me know what you think!
Working my way to a centered mind, body and spirit,
FROM PRACTICAL YOGA FOR EVERYDAY PEOPLE
Create a Healthy and Happy Mind
Are you looking for a way to break old, unhealthy mental patterns so that you can create a happier, healthier life? Well, today is "Manifest Your Mantra Day", and the Spirit Trainers are here to help! Get yourself out of a slump or a self-defeating negative mindset by creating your own personal, affirmative mantra. Mantra literally means "mind wave", and is any word or phrase repeated often. Mantras can positively affect your thought patterns and beliefs. We suggest the following steps to help you manifest your own personal, positive mantra and let go of old, negative patterns.
Make a list of 11 qualities /attributes of your personality that you regard as negative or harmful and which you believe hold you back from reaching your potential. These should be qualities that you would like to 'leave behind you' and release. Perhaps you have a false statement about yourself that your mind chronically repeats (eg. 'I'm so lazy') or maybe you just want to move from shy to outgoing. Whatever your choices, think of it as an opportunity to change negative thought patterns and beliefs into more positive and appealing ones that will affirm and empower you. Once you've created your list of 11, you'll then write adjectives that describe the exact opposite of those qualities. For example, if you listed 'grumpy' as a trait to release, you might write 'cheerful' as a positive alternative. When you're done with your list, we'll combine all the positive qualities in one big affirming statement about yourself. Remember, this is YOUR secret and personal mantra. Keep it to yourself, and use it to redirect your mind whenever your thoughts veer in a direction that doesn't support you in your highest vision.
1. On a blank piece of paper, draw a line down the center of it. On the left top column, write 'Old Mental Belief' and on the right top column, write 'New Mental Belief'.
2. Under Old Mental Beliefs, write the (up to) 11 attributes you would like to release.
3. Under New Mental Beliefs, list the exact opposite/positive of this quality or attribute. (eg. Grumpy/cheerful, lazy/energetic, shy/outgoing, fearful/courageous, etc)
4. Once you have a list of anywhere from 5 to 11 positive adjectives, pick three to five of these positive affirmations and make one positive affirming statement. An example might be: 'I, Jane Smith, am a cheerful, energetic, outgoing person'.
5. Write your statement in one sentence, and then commit it to memory so you can repeat it with ease throughout your day. Repeat this phrase (with conviction!) each morning upon rising from bed, and each evening before falling asleep. Say this phrase with conviction - believe what you are saying.